Sustainability in transport is more than just e-mobility. Green hydrogen also offers valuable opportunities to make drive technology more environmentally friendly. The HyCET research project is designed to identify and explore the specific potential of hydrogen technology for road freight. To this end, trucks with hydrogen combustion engines are being developed and their use will be subsequently tested in practice.
HyCET Unites Competent Partners for a Common Goal
HyCET stands for “Hydrogen Combustion Engine Trucks“. The project is led by the BMW Group. The consortium also includes other vehicle and drive producers (Deutz, Volvo), KEYOU, a proven hydrogen expert, and the energy company TotalEnergies. The logistics operator’s perspective is represented by DHL Freight. As a leading road freight service provider, DHL Freight is contributing its practical experience: on the one hand, to help define the necessary requirements for the vehicles and, on the other, to practically test the trucks within the BMW Group’s transport logistics.
"Our active participation in the HyCET research project is another step towards reaching our sustainability goals. It demonstrates that we’re keeping pace with the times, and it’s a good example of how important it is to collaborate with strong, innovative companies in the area of green mobility," says Uwe Brinks, CEO DHL Freight.
In concrete terms, two 18-ton and two 40-ton trucks with hydrogen combustion engines will be developed and tested. The 7.8-liter hydrogen engine for the 18-ton truck was created by Deutz, and Volvo and KEYOU are responsible for the 13-liter engine that powers the 40-ton truck.
In addition to matters relating to drive technology, HyCET is also addressing the infrastructure required for the widespread use of hydrogen trucks. To this end, two new hydrogen filling stations are being built in the major German cities of Nuremberg and Leipzig, and aspects such as refueling and infrastructural requirements are being included in the research and practical tests.
Hydrogen as Future Technology
Hydrogen drives combine a potentially high payload with long ranges and fast refueling. If green hydrogen from renewable energy sources is used, hydrogen drives can help to achieve the goal of a carbon-neutral road freight system more quickly. Policymakers also recognize that hydrogen technology is a promising type of drive for transport logistics in addition to the electric motor: The German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) approved a funding application for HyCET in September 2022.
Study on sustainability: Hydrogen is a desired technology of the future
For this study, DHL Freight, in cooperation with the German Logistics Association (BVL) and the geodata and technology company Here Technologies, surveyed 100 companies from industry, trade, and logistics services about their sustainability. The result: hydrogen is the preferred truck drive technology of the future. Dr. Christoph Schönwandt, Head of GoGreen DHL Freight, explains the results of the study in a podcast.
HyCET’s total budget of 19.5 million euros includes 11.3 million euros of BMDV funding. A further 5.7 million euros will be provided for the construction of the two refueling stations. The research project will run for four years.
Hydrogen technology offers us the opportunity to rethink mobility. The diverse demands of transport logistics in particular call for suitable solutions.
Daniela Kluckert Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport
Another Step Towards Zero Emissions for DHL Freight
DHL Freight is a pioneer in sustainability and, as part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, is committed to the mutual goal of bringing all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050. A key component of this strategy is the use of sustainable and forward-looking drive technologies in our vehicles. The HyCET project is another important component for DHL Freight to actively shape the sustainable future of transport logistics.
The research conducted with HyCET is particularly valuable for DHL Freight’s GoGreen Plus service. GoGreen Plus is the binding promise to our customers to reduce emissions directly in our own network through carbon insetting – by testing and using green technologies and fuels. This is exactly what HyCET is all about. The sustainable future of logistics has begun, and DHL Freight is part of it.